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Welcome to the Friday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!

In just four days, the Bengals will be headed to Los Angeles for Super Bowl LVI, and in equally big news, I'll also be headed to L.A. next week. I've already scheduled a botox appointment, so I should fit in as soon as I land. This means that the newsletter will be coming to you live from the West Coast all next week, so you're going to want to make sure to check your email inbox every day so you don't miss a thing. 

Let's forget about next week, though, because this week isn't quite over yet. We've got a huge Friday newsletter that includes one of our best podcasts ever, plus we'll take a look at how Doug Pederson will fit in with the Jaguars. Alright, I need to go pack for this L.A. trip, so let's get to the rundown. 

Remember, if you're hanging out with family and/or friends this weekend, you should tell them all to sign up for the newsletter. To get them signed up, all you have to do is click here and then share this link with them.

1. Today's show: Bengals legends Anthony Munoz and Jim Breech rehash Cincinnati's first two Super Bowls and predict Super Bowl LVI

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Getty Images

With the Bengals set to play in their first Super Bowl in 33 YEARS next week, we thought we'd take a trip down memory lane by talking to two of the players who were on the field for each of Cincinnati's first two Super Bowls: Anthony Munoz and Jim Breech. 

Munoz is widely considered the greatest left tackle in NFL history and is the only Bengals player who is currently in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. As for Breech, not only is he my dad, but he's the Bengals' all-time leading scorer and was on his way to winning MVP in Super Bowl XXIII before Joe Montana threw a TD pass to John Taylor with 34 seconds left to give the 49ers a 20-16 win. 

Will Brinson and I chatted with Munoz and Breech for roughly an hour and let me just tell you, if there's one podcast you should listen to this week, it's definitely this one. The two guys gave us some fantastic stories, including: 

  • My dad basically hitchhiked to the AFC title game in January 1982. This game was the Freezer Bowl and it was so cold (-59 windchill) that his car wouldn't start. My dad was with Bengals backup QB Jack Thompson on Sunday morning of the game and since they didn't have a functioning car, they ended up getting a ride to the stadium from a local waitress. Imagine a local waitress giving a backup QB and a kicker a ride to the AFC title game these days, it would be on TikTok instantly and it would make headlines all day. 
  • Munoz explained the impact of losing a key player the night before the Super Bowl. One day before their game against the 49ers in Super Bowl XXIII, the Bengals found out they weren't going to have starting fullback Stanley Wilson after he had a drug relapse the night before the game. Hearing how players respond to something like that, especially the night before the biggest game of their lives, is incredibly fascinating. 
  • My dad missed my birth. This story also made it into the podcast. I was born a few days before Super Bowl XVI and because of that, my dad wasn't there for my birth. I don't think he was expecting to have to explain this story on the podcast, but as we all know, nothing is off limits Super Bowl week.  
  • Both guys make their Super Bowl pick. In news that won't surprise you, both guys are picking the Bengals to win and they're both expecting it to be a close game. 
  • The is year's Bengals. The two guys didn't just recount Cincinnati's past Super Bowls, they also had a lot to say about this year's team. With the Bengals' offensive line struggling at times this year, Munoz broke down what it does well and what it could do better. On the kicking end, my dad went over what makes Evan McPherson so special. 

To listen to the entire episode, be sure to click here ... or better yet, you can watch the entire episode on YouTube by clicking here

2. Jaguars hire Doug Pederson and why he might actually work

There's no team in the NFL that loves to announce things around midnight more than the Jacksonville Jaguars. Back in December, the Jags fired Urban Meyer in a move that was made just after midnight and nearly eight weeks later, they hired his replacement in a move that was also announced around midnight. 

At exactly 11:11 p.m. ET (make a wish) on Thursday, the Jaguars announced Doug Pederson as their next head coach. Pederson will be replacing Meyer, who was fired on Dec. 16 after one of the most disastrous coaching stints in NFL history. Meyer went just 2-11, which means if Pederson can win just three games next season, that will make him more successful than Meyer. 

Here's what you need to know about Pederson and why this hiring makes sense: 

  • Pederson has the pedigree the Jaguars need right now. When the Jags hired Meyer, he was a big name, but he had zero NFL coaching experience. Not only does Pederson have 12 years experience as a head coach or assistant in the NFL, but he won a Super Bowl in just his second year on the job after being hired in Philadelphia. If he were to win a Super Bowl after just two years in Jacksonville, he would likely be voted coach of the century. 
  • Trevor Lawrence should be thrilled. Pederson's history with quarterbacks should only mean good things for Lawrence, who struggled in 2021. After drafting Wentz in 2016, Pederson had him playing at an MVP level by 2017. Wentz went 11-2 that year before suffering a season-ending ACL injury in December 2017. Pederson then brought in a backup (Nick Foles) who led the Eagles to their first Super Bowl win in franchise history. Basically, Pederson knows what he's doing with quarterbacks and that should benefit Lawrence. In a twist, Pederson and Lawrence will be facing Wentz twice per season now if Carson stays with the Colts
  • Pederson is going to have a mess to clean up. The Jaguars are arguably one of the two dysfunctional organizations in the NFL right now (along with the Texans), but that likely helped Pederson get the job. Last week, it looked like the Jags were going to hire Byron Leftwich, but he reportedly took his name out of the running because he didn't want to work with GM Trent Baalke, and you can't blame him: Baalke has fired the past four coaches he's worked with. Instead, Pederson will now have to try to make things work with the Jags GM. 
  • Don't be surprised if Pederson turns the Jags into a contender. The biggest upside for Pederson is that the Jags are in arguably the easiest division to win in the NFL: The AFC South. If Pederson can get the most out of Lawrence, there's a chance he could end up being the best QB in the division by the end of next season and if you have the best QB in your division, you're going to be a contender to win that division every year no matter what else is around you. 

The hiring of Pederson means that six of the nine open jobs have now been filled. Only the Dolphins, Saints, and Texans have yet to hire a coach. 

3. Everything you need to know about the Pro Bowl

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USA Today

After a one-year hiatus due to COVID, the Pro Bowl is back! 

The festivities kicked off on Thursday with the Pro Bowl Skills Challenge and I'm not going to lie, it was actually pretty entertaining to watch. If you missed it, here's a quick recap of what went down

  • Russell Wilson dominated. The Seahawks QB participated in the precision passing contest and set a Pro Bowl record with 29 points. To see how he did that, be sure to click here
  • Tyreek Hill loses fastest man contest. Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons took home the fastest player award after UPSETTING Hill. To see that race go down, be sure to click here
  • Trevon Diggs wins the best catch award. This contest was open to anyone, which is how a CORNERBACK was able to beat out some receivers to earn the best catch of the Pro Bowl. To see the catch that won the award for Diggs, be sure to click here
  • Diggs leads NFC to win in dodgeball. Not only did Trevon Diggs take home the best catch award, but he also was the key to the NFC's win in dodgeball. In a fitting twist, one of the biggest plays came when Trevon caught a ball thrown by his brother, Stefon, which knocked the Bills receiver out of the competition. 

You can get a full recap of the skills challenge by clicking here

The game itself won't be kicking off until Sunday and here's what you need to know: 

TV: ABC/ESPN
Time: 3 p.m. ET (Sunday)
Date: Feb. 6
Location: Allegiant Stadium (Las Vegas)

One interesting thing about the Pro Bowl is that it won't technically be "kicking off" on Sunday and that's because there are no kickoffs. Instead, the NFL will start each half by using the "spot-and-choose" rule.

Here's how that rule will work: First, there will be a coin toss and then the winner of the toss must choose between one of the two privileges, and the loser of the toss is given the other. The two privileges are:

  1. Spot: Place the ball on the field for the first play of the first quarter, including the designation of direction.
  2. Choose: Decide whether to start on offense or defense from the other team's designated spot and direction.

If Team A wins the toss and decides to spot the ball, it could put it at the 10-yard line. Team B would then decide if it wants to play offense or defense from that spot. For more details on this unique rule, be sure to click here. For a full look at both the AFC and NFC rosters for Sunday, be sure to click here

4. 56 things to know about Super Bowl LVI

Since there's no newsletter for the next two days, I thought I'd send you into the weekend with a story that might take you two full days to read: 56 things to know about Super Bowl LVI. 

Cody Benjamin has apparently been locked in a room for the past 72 straight hours, because that's the only way to explain how he found the time to write all 56 things. 

I would cover them all here, but your scrolling finger would break off, so I'm going to list seven here:   

  • This matchup marks the first time in Super Bowl history that both teams entered the playoffs as No. 4 seeds.
  • Joe Burrow is finishing just his second NFL season. At 25, he's looking to become one of the youngest QBs to ever win a Super Bowl, behind just Ben Roethlisberger (23), Patrick Mahomes (24) and Tom Brady (24).
  • The Bengals were the only NFL team besides the Buccaneers to have three different players top 800 receiving yards: Chase (1,455), Tee Higgins (1,091) and Tyler Boyd (828) topped their pass-catching corps..
  • Rams coach Sean McVay, 36, is looking for his first Super Bowl win, and to become the youngest head coach to ever hoist the Lombardi Trophy. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin holds that distinction for winning Super Bowl XLIII at 36. McVay and Bengals coach Zac Taylor also have the youngest combined age for opposing Super Bowl coaches in NFL history. 
  • Taylor worked under McVay directly before becoming Bengals coach, spending one year as the Rams' assistant wide receivers coach (2017) and one as the team's QBs coach (2018)..
  • By playing at SoFi Stadium, the Rams will look to become the second straight team to win it all in their own stadium. Before the Buccaneers won the Super Bowl in Tampa, Florida, to end the 2020 season, no team had ever done it. 
  • One of the broadcasters in the game will be NBC's Cris Collinsworth, who is one of just seven players in Bengals history who played in each of the team's first two Super Bowls (Breech and Munoz are also on that list). 

That is just a taste of what Cody has put together and if you want the full meal, you'll have to click over to his story

5. Super Bowl update: Bengals set travel plans for L.A., end zones are ready at SoFi, plus someone just bet $4.5 million on Cincinnati

With the Super Bowl less than 10 days away, that means we're now at the point where we need to cover every Super Bowl news and nugget so we're going to start doing that today. 

Here's a quick roundup of some Super Bowl related items:  

  • Bengals headed to L.A. on Tuesday. Before COVID, most teams would travel to the game the weekend before the Super Bowl, but the Bengals have decided they don't need to travel that far in advance. Instead of getting there this weekend, the Bengals will be traveling on Tuesday. If you want the details on their travel plans, be sure to click here.  
  • Bengals and Rams end zones are fully painted and ready to go for the Super Bowl. If you want to get a sneak peek at what the end zones are going to look like for the Super Bowl, then click here. However, if you would rather be surprised, then please ignore that link and don't click over. 
  • Bengals coach explains what makes Cooper Kupp so unstoppable. Bengals coach Zac Taylor spent two seasons on the Rams' coaching staff, so if anyone knows how difficult it is to stop Kupp, it's definitely him. While meeting with the media on Thursday, Taylor explained what makes Kupp so special and you can check out those comments by clicking here.  
  • Joe Burrow dealing with a minor pinky injury. The Bengals QB injured his pinky during a Week 13 loss to the Chargers and he was asked on Thursday how it's been holding up over the past few weeks. According to Burrow, it doesn't impact his throwing, but it does bother him when he's doing "every day things."
  • Super Bowl's biggest bet so far is on the Bengals. Jim McIngvale, who's better known as "Mattress Mack," just placed the largest wager we've seen so far on the Super Bowl. Mack is putting $4.5 MILLION on the Bengals money line. If the bet hits, Mack will get back $12.05 million (His $4.5 million original bet plus $7.65 million in profit). I would say that Mack is jinxing the Bengals, but he also bet on them to beat the Titans, so this feels like a reverse-jinx jinx that isn't actually a jinx. 

I know I mentioned it at the top, but here's a friendly reminder that I'll be in Los Angeles all next week and if you want to follow along on social media, then feel free to follow on FacebookTwitter or even Instagram

6. Rapid-fire roundup: Everyone is denying everything

It's been a busy 24 hours in the NFL and since it's nearly impossible to keep track of everything that happened, I went ahead and put together a roundup for you. 

  • Dan Snyder denies new accusations. We mentioned yesterday that there had been some new allegations about workplace misconduct against Dan Snyder. The Washington owner has responded to the allegations by vehemently denying that he did anything wrong. To check out all the details on the case, be sure to click here
  • Giants deny claims made by Brian Flores. One of the biggest claims in the Flores lawsuit is that the Giants knew they were going to hire Brian Daboll BEFORE they even interviewed Flores. As it turns out, the Giants do NOT agree with that assessment at all. The team released a lengthy statement where it rebuked Flores' claims and you can check that out by clicking here
  • Browns owner denies accusation by Hue Jackson. After Flores said he was offered money to lose games in 2019, former Browns coach Hue Jackson came out and insinuated that the same situation happened in Cleveland. However, Browns owner Jimmy Haslam said that Jackson's claim is total baloney and that Jackson just never took any responsibility for losing
  • Elway denies claim made by Flores. One interesting part of Flores' lawsuit had to do with his interview with the Broncos. In that interview, Flores claims that Elway showed up hungover. Elway strongly disputed that characterization in a lengthy statement that you can read by clicking here
  • Jim Harbaugh says he's done chasing NFL jobs. After missing out on the Vikings job, it appears that Harbaugh no longer plans on trying to land a job in the NFL. 
  • Ravens dump Rob Ryan. With a new defensive coordinator in, that means some old defensive assistants won't be returning in 2021 and one of those is Rob Ryan. CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora has reported that the Ravens will be parting ways with their inside linebackers coach. 
  • Giants hire Mike Kafka as offensive coordinator. Well, that didn't take long. New Giants coach Brian Daboll has been on the job for less than a week and it appears he has already found his offensive coordinator. According to multiple reports, the Giants are expected to hire Kafka, who has served as the Chiefs QB coach for the past three seasons.